Thanksgiving in Canada – what an appropriate time to offer thanks for…well…everything. I am so blessed. However, it is an opportunity to express our appreciation to our pastors. The shepherds who must give an account for our very soul. We, the sheep who are prone to wander. What a difficult job – to be a shepherd. He must be with the sheep in the rain or the blistering sun ensuring they are fed and safe from harm – wolves, for example. It is a lonely job. Surely he cannot perch on a hill and test the satellite signal for Facebook or Instagram. Seriously, how many selfies can the shepherd post of sheep safely grazing – even though the peaceful moments under his watchful eye are a beautiful thing to behold in the Church.
Speaking from the personal point of view as a sheep in the fold, I’ve been reflecting deeply about my own growth in Christ through His Church recently. Teaching, preaching, praying… the investment of time that has been poured into me from the pulpit is incredible. I’ve been a believer in Jesus Christ for almost 50 years. I’ve attended churches that proclaim biblical truth for the same amount of time. That is a lot of teaching, preaching and prayer! I am beyond blessed.
For almost two thirds of my Christian life, my beloved has been my pastor. What a special privilege for me. He has poured his study, preparation and prayer into ME! I have flourished under his ministry. I was challenged and chastised. I knew God more as a result of his ministry. I loved God more as a result of his ministry. This sheep was well fed and protected by my beloved under-shepherd.
At the time of this writing he is not a shepherd vocationally, but still cherishes sheep as his most loved pass time. While sheep wander the countryside, his heart reaches out to them to see if they need shelter or food. Do they need a shepherd to guide them? Once a shepherd, always a shepherd, I’ve discovered. His love for sheep has never waned. Always loyal to the Chief Shepherd, he walks about looking for those who need a hand or a hug or his heart. What love for God! A faithful shepherd in his calling from God’s Word – Jesus said: ‘do you love Me? Feed My sheep!’ This was his call. A call he took seriously. A call he prepared for over many years. He only wanted to do his very best for God. His heart’s desire was to preach the Word with integrity and to see lost sheep come into the fold of safety.
It is moving to see his desire continue in his chosen path to this day as he prays for those near and far. He has the scars on his body that tell the stories of wolves, bears and ravens who have tried to attack his flock and he fought them to the point of death. It doesn’t matter – he loves sheep. He dedicated himself to their care and protection and will never give up.
The majority of my Christian life has been lived under his care. I am so much better because of his loving protection and green pastures where he has lead me. I have been nourished and I have grown. This is the shepherd whom I appreciate so much in this time of ‘Pastor Appreciation Month’. He has always lead his flock faithfully to the Chief Shepherd. ‘My sheep hear My voice; I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand.’ (John 10: 27-28).
Thankful. Blessed. Nourished. Loved. In Christ, My Chief Shepherd, through His faithful man, my beloved.